Unwanted pest arrives in tobacco

Last updated 05:00 27/12/2013
warehouse beetle
CREEPY CRAWLY: The warehouse beetle found in a tobacco packet

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One of the most unusual finds of the year - though in tobacco, not food - was a Hawke's Bay man's discovery of a live beetle.

The offending bug was found in a packet of Park Drive Blue roll-your-own tobacco in September by farmer Richard Marsters.

The warehouse beetle is an unwanted pest not found in New Zealand.

The packet was one of 68,000 imported into New Zealand by British American Tobaccco, originating in The Netherlands.

The Ministry for Primary Industries said no further bug finds had been reported, and that the case was an isolated incident and a low biosecurity risk.

No recall of the shipment was made, though an estimated 38,000 packets of the tobacco remained unsold at the time of the finding.

Investigations director Veronica Herrera said interceptions like the warehouse beetle were made from time to time.

The ministry would monitor future imports with the importer.

British American Tobacco assisted with the investigation.

Spokeswoman Susan Jones said the company treated all complaints very seriously.

Warehouse beetles are pests of stored foods, including grain, seeds and cereals.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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